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Scandalous attempts to smear Jeremy Corbyn belie reality about Raed Salah

The current media attacks against leading Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn to smear him as an “anti-Semite” are an absolute scandal. One of the themes in these attacks has been Corbyn’s meeting with Palestinian political activist and religious leader Shaikh Raed Salah, who came to Britain in 2011 for a speaking tour about ending Israeli discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel (of whom Salah is one of the leading figures). He spoke at an event in the House of Commons and another in Leicester before being arrested; unjustly, as it turned out. Raed Salah, it is still claimed by the pro-Israel lobby, is an “anti-Semite”; ergo, Jeremy Corbyn is too, due to his connection with the sheikh.

When seeing these attacks on Corbyn over Salah, such as those launched by the right-wing newspaper the Jewish Chronicle and journalist Cathy Newman on Monday night’s Channel 4 News, it is important to remember that Israel is engaged in a long-running campaign against Salah because of his non-violent resistance to state racism. In 2010, for example, secret video footage showed that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal spy agency, had attempted to persuade Chaim Pearlman, a known extremist Jewish settler, to assassinate the shaikh.

As I reported in detail back in 2011 and 2012, when Raed Salah arrived in Britain he was subjected to a vicious Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian media campaign. This campaign was instigated by the pro-Israel lobby, at the vanguard of which was the Community Security Trust, a registered charity which is supposedly an apolitical organisation established purely to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

While there is no doubt that the CST does invaluable work combating anti-Jewish hatred, there is also no doubt that the CST mendaciously and systemically conflates valid criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism as part of its ideological campaign to support Israel, right or wrong. As only one example, in 2013, I revealed that the CST secretly played a leading role in establishing a campaign group to tackle the Palestinian movement to boycott Israel in an effort to force it to end its brutal occupation of Palestine.

The CST’s campaign against Salah was another part of its leading role in the pro-Israel lobby. Home Secretary Theresa May relied completely on a dossier produced by the CST to detain the shaikh. Ultimately, he triumphed against the British government’s attempts to deport him, as he recounts in this article first published in April 2012, soon after an Upper Tier Tribunal judge ruled in his favour.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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